Archive for 2012
Over the past six months, the Greater Vancouver housing market has seen a reduction in the number of homes listed for sale, a gradual moderation in home prices and a decrease in property sales compared to historical averages.
The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential property sales of detached, attached and apartment properties reached 1,686 on the region’s Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in November, a 28.6 per cent decline compared to the 2,360 sales in November 2011 and a 12.7 per cent decline compared to the 1,931 home sales in October 2012.
November sales were 30.3 per cent below the 10-year November sales average of 2,420.
Home sellers appear more inclined to remove their properties from the market today rather than lower prices to sell their properties. On the other hand, buyers appear to be expecting prices to moderate.
New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties in Greater Vancouver totalled 2,758 in November. This represents a 14.4 per cent decline compared to November 2011 when 3,222 properties were listed for sale on the MLS® and a 36.2 per cent decline compared to the 4,323 new listings in October 2012.
New listings were 12.9 per cent below the 10-year November average of 3,168.
At 15,689, the total number of residential property listings on the MLS® increased 13 per cent from this time last year and declined 9.7 per cent compared to October 2012. Total listings in the region have declined by nearly 3,000 properties since reaching a peak of 18,493 in June.
The region’s sales-to-active-listings ratio was unchanged from October at 11 per cent.
Home prices in Greater Vancouver have generally declined, the amount depends on property type, municipality and neighbourhood.
Sales of detached properties on the MLS® in November 2012 reached 76, a decrease of 24.75 per cent from the 101 detached sales recorded in November 2011, and a 52.5 per cent decrease from the 160 units sold in November 2010.
Attached property sales in November 2012 totalled 50, a 34.21 per cent decrease compared to the 76 sales in November 2011, and a 38.27 per cent decrease from the 81 attached properties sold in November 2010.
Sales of apartment properties reached 81 in November 2012, a 14.73 per cent decrease compared to the 95 sales in November 2011, and a decrease of 46 per cent compared to the 150 sales in November 2010.
Source Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver
October 24, 2012 (Revised)
The province will transition back to the Provincial Sales Tax (PST), which will replace the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST), on April 1, 2013. Until then, the province has transitional rules for new homes which took effect on April 1, 2012.
Note: This information is current to October 24, 2012 and has been verified with the Canada Revenue Agency, GST/HST Rulings Branch. However, we have been advised that the information could change depending on HST rulings to come.
Enhanced New Housing Rebate
Effective April 1, 2012, your clients may be eligible for a provincial enhanced New Housing Rebate if they buy, as their primary residence, priced up to $850,000:
• a new home together with land;
• a new home together with leased land;
• a new mobile home or float home;
• a new home bought through shares in a housing cooperative; or
• a new home constructed or substantially renovated (more than 90%) by the owner builder.
Your clients may also be eligible for a grant (BC Ministry of Fiance administered rebate) if they buy or build a secondary vacation or recreational home outside the Greater Vancouver and Capital Regional Districts.
Buyers of new homes will be eligible for a rebate of 71.43% of the provincial portion of the HST paid on the new home up to a maximum rebate of $42,500. Homes priced at more than $850,000 will be eligible for a flat rebate of $42,500.
The GST/HST generally becomes payable on the earlier of the day on which ownership is transferred to the recipient and the day on which possession of the property is transferred to the recipient. (This is the day the tax is payable).
Agreements signed before April 1, 2012, with possession before April 1, 2012
If your client bought a presale residential property and they had an agreement dated before April 1, 2012 and they took ownership or possession before April 1, 2012, they would have paid the 12% HST and been eligible for a rebate of up to $26,250 on homes priced to a maximum of $525,000. Homes priced at more than $525,000 were eligible for a flat rebate of $26,250.
Agreements signed before April 1, 2012, with possession before April 1, 2013
If your client buys a presale residential property and they have an agreement dated before April 1, 2012 and they take ownership or possession before April 1, 2013, they will pay the 12% HST and be eligible for a rebate of up to $42,500 on homes priced to a maximum of $850,000. Homes priced at more than $850,000 are eligible for a flat rebate of $42,500.
Agreements signed before April 1, 2012, with possession on or after April 1, 2013, but before April 1, 2015
If your client buys a presale residential property and they have an agreement dated before April 1, 2012 and they take ownership or possession on or after April 1, 2013, they will not pay the 7% provincial portion of the HST. Instead, buyers will pay both the 5% GST and the 2% BC Transition Tax on the full home price. This 2% reflects an embedded PST builders pay on materials. If ownership and possession is on or after April 1, 2015 then the 2% tax is not applicable.
Agreements signed on or after April 1, 2012 and before April 1, 2013, with possession before
April 1, 2013
If your client buys a presale residential property and they have an agreement dated on or after April 1, 2012 and before April 1, 2013, and they take ownership and possession before April 1, 2013, they will pay the 12% HST and be eligible for a rebate of up to $42,500 on homes priced to a maximum of $850,000. Homes priced at more than $850,000 are eligible for a flat rebate of $42,500.
Agreements signed on or after April 1, 2012, with possession on or after April 1, 2013, but before
April 1, 2015
If your client buys a presale residential property and they have an agreement dated on or after April 1, 2012, but the construction of the home commenced before April 1, 2013, and they take ownership and possession on or after April 1, 2013, they will not pay the 7% provincial portion of the HST. Instead, buyers will pay both the 5% GST and the 2% BC Transition Tax on the full home price until before April 1, 2015. This 2% reflects an embedded PST builders pay on materials. If ownership and possession is on or after April 1, 2015 then the 2% tax is not applicable.
Presales and Completed New Homes for Sale
Agreements signed on or after April 1, 2013, with possession on or after April 1, 2013, but before
April 1, 2015
If your client buys a presale or completed new residential property and they have an agreement dated on or after April 1, 2013, and they take ownership and possession on or after April 1, 2013, they will have to pay the 5% GST. They will also have to pay the 2% BC Transition Tax on the full home price, if the construction or substantial renovation of the new home is 10% or more completed as of April 1, 2013. If ownership and possession is on or after April 1, 2015 then the 2% tax is not applicable. This 2% reflects an embedded PST builders pay on materials.
The 12% HST will generally cease to apply to sales of real property (including residential real property) if ownership and possession of the property transfer on or after April 1, 2013.
The PST will not apply to sales of real property. However, the PST will apply to certain types of housing which, at the time of purchase are tangible personal property (e.g. a mobile home purchased without land) and where possession transfers on or after April 1, 2013. The PST will also apply to construction inputs that are used to improve real property on or after April 1, 2013.
Agreements signed on or before November 18, 2009, or construction began before July 1, 2010, with possession on or after April 1, 2013 (Double-straddling, grandparented)
Special transitional rules apply if your client has bought a presale residential property and they have an agreement dated on or before November 18, 2009, or construction began before July 1, 2010 (the HST start date in BC) and for which ownership and possession transfer on or after April 1, 2013 (the HST end date in BC). This is known as a double-straddling home sale. In this situation, your client will pay both the 5% GST and the 2% BC Transition Tax.
Agreements signed after November 18, 2009, or construction began before July 1, 2010, with possession on or after April 1, 2013 (Double-straddling, non-grandparented)
Special transitional rules apply if your client has bought a presale residential property and they have an agreement dated after November 18, 2009, and construction began before July 1, 2010 (the HST start date in BC) and for which ownership and possession transfer on or after April 1, 2013 (the HST end date in BC). This is known as a double-straddling home sale. In this situation, your client will pay both the 5% GST and the 2% BC Transition Tax. However, the 2% tax will not apply where construction was substantially completed before July 1, 2010 and the PST Transitional New Housing Rebate was not claimed by February 17, 2012.
All the same rules apply to recreational property that apply to other residential property. Your clients may be eligible for a provincial grant if they buy or build a secondary vacation or recreational home outside the Metro Vancouver and Capital Regional Districts.
HST paid on land
For owner-built homes where the HST was paid on the land, the owner may be eligible for a rebate on qualifying construction expenses (including land), up to a maximum of $42,500. There will be no phase-out of this rebate, such that owner-built homes with qualifying construction expenses over $850,000 will qualify for the maximum rebate of $42,500.
No HST paid on land
Where the HST was not paid on the land, the owner will be entitled to a new housing rebate on qualifying construction expenses only (which would not include land), up to a maximum rebate amount of $28,475 (for example 67% of $42,500).
Enhanced New Rental Housing Rebate
There is an enhanced provincial New Rental Housing Rebate. If your clients construct or substantially renovate a residential property to rent to tenants, your clients are eligible for a rebate up to $42,500 on units priced up to $850,000. There is a flat rebate of $42,500 for units priced above $850,000.
The first use of the home must be by a renter of the unit or as a primary residence by the owner for at least one year. Eligible units include:
• a detached, attached, condominium apartment or duplexes, with or without a legal secondary suite;
• a mobile or float home;
• units in a multiple unit building including long-term care residential facilities; or
• the land component of a single-unit or multiple-unit housing, where the land is leased or is a housing cooperative.
If your client buys a new apartment which is not their principal residence and they don’t rent it, for example, if strata bylaws prohibit rentals, or your clients buy a new apartment to use on weekends, the unit is not eligible for the New Rental Housing Rebate.
But, if you have a client who buys a new rental apartment building so long as they rent all of the units, they will be eligible for a New Rental Housing Rebate for each unit up to a maximum rebate of $42,500 per unit.
If your client builds or substantially renovates rental property, they will be required to self-assess and pay the HST on or after April 1, 2012 and before April 1, 2013.
• November 18, 2009 – Date the transition rules from PST to HST came into effect.
• July 1, 2010 – Date the HST came into effect in BC.
• April 1, 2012 – Date the HST to PST transitional rules come into effect. The enhanced HST rebate comes into effect.
• April 1, 2013 – HST end date. GST on new homes is back in effect, together with the 2% BC Transition Tax (where applicable).
• April 1, 2015 – Date the 2% BC Transition Tax ends.
For More Information
• Visit: www.pstinbc.ca
• Read HST Notice #12: http://www.pstinbc.ca/media/2012_housing_rules_FEB.pdf
• Read HST Notice #13 – Recreational Property: http://www.rev.gov.bc.ca/documents_library/notices/HST_Notice_013.pdf
• Visit BCREA’s web site for HST/PST information at: http://www.bcrea.bc.ca/government-relations/hst-pst-resources
• Phone the Canada Revenue Agency GST/HST ruling line at: 1.800.959.8287
• Phone the BC Ministry of Finance with questions about the 2% BC Transition Tax at: 1.877.388.4440
If you have questions, please contact Harriet Permut, Manager, Government Relations at: email@example.com
• BC Ministry of Finance, Tax Information Notice. HST Notice #12, February 17, 2012.
• BC Ministry of Finance, Tax Information Notice. HST Notice #13, June 2012.
• Canada Revenue Agency, HST ruling line at 1.800.959.8287
Source: Real Estate Board Of Greater Vancouver
Greater Vancouver residents – whether they’re individuals living alone or three generations living together – have jobs, work hard and want to own their own home.
Given the well-documented, long-term social and financial benefits, this isn’t surprising. Owning a home typically improves the well-being and sustainability of families and their communities.1
Not so long ago, half a million dollars would buy a small detached home almost anywhere in our Board’s area. Now, even in a buyer’s market, families that could have afforded that $500,000 home are being priced out of the market.
The affordability problem can be traced back to two specific issues: taxes associated with buying a home and government regulation.
Taxes associated with buying a home
When families begin their search for a home, they’re discouraged when they discover the Property Transfer Tax (PTT) adds more than $10,000 to a home priced at $609,500. This is the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) Home Price Index (HPI) composite benchmark price of a Greater Vancouver home.2
A range of other taxes including the Provincial Sales Tax (PST), the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) and the Goods and Services Tax (GST) also add to the cost, as do taxes on renovations, remediation and indirectly on rent charged by landlords.
To add to the affordability problem, on July 9, 2012, the federal government tightened mortgage finance rules for the fourth time in four years. For home buyers with less than a 20% down payment, the maximum amortization (payback) period was reduced on mortgages to 25 years from 30 years. Now, a 35-year old home buyer with less than a 20% downpayment, no longer qualifies to make mortgage payments past age 60, even if they know they’ll work until age 65 or older.3
Taxes and regulation close the door on home ownership
The gravity of the situation is clear from the data. The number of first-time buyers requesting mortgages declined by 15% over the summer4 and, in turn, home sales fell overall by more than 30%. Our fear is that the negative effects will be long-lasting.
Taxes + Regulation = Quickly Cooling Sales
First-time buyers are the foundation of a healthy real estate market. When First-time buyers buy homes, sellers are able to trade up, which generates more sales. This builds momentum leading to a healthy and sustainable economy. Without first time buyers, the market stalls.
In the Lower Mainland, home sales are key to economic prosperity, generating an estimated $60,000 in economic spin-offs per transaction.5 In 2011, 32,968 homes changed ownership in the REBGV Board area, generating a total dollar value of MLS® sales of $25.7 billion; as well as $1.98 billion in economic spin-off activity and 9,231 jobs. Declining home sales have widespread negative effects throughout the economy, including a reduction in jobs which stalls economic recovery.
The cost of putting down roots
Home ownership is so expensive that a family with a new baby in 2011 can expect to spend $295,560 to raise their child to age 17. Housing costs are the largest expense averaging at least 30% of the outlay.6 Initiatives such as the BC First-Time New Home Buyers’ Bonus help offset these costs.
1. Property Transfer Tax
(a) Increase the 1% PTT threshold to $525,000 from $200,000.
(b) In expensive markets such as Greater Vancouver, increase the 1% PTT threshold to $609,500, which is the benchmark price in the REBGV Board area.
(c) Continue to apply the 2% to the remainder of the fair market value of the home.
(d) Index the new higher 1% PTT threshold using Statistics Canada’s New Housing Price Index, and make annual adjustments.
2. Provincial Sales Tax
(a) Reinstate the PST credit for leaky condominium repairs which was phased out on June 30, 2010.
(b) Allow input tax credits for owners of residential rental accommodations.
3. Federal Tax and Regulation
Lobby the federal government to:
(a) allow zero-rating of rental housing so that rental landlords can claim input tax credits on GST paid on operating expenses (when the HST ends); and
(b) increase the amortization period for new government–backed insured mortgages to 30 years from 25 years.
4. BC First-Time New Home Buyers’ Bonus
Extend this bonus to March 31, 2015 to continue to encourage first-time buyers to enter the market.
1 National Association of REALTORS®, Social Beneﬁts of Homeownership and Stable Housing, April 2012.
2 Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver, Statistics Package, September 5, 2012.
3 Department of Finance Canada, “Harper Government Takes Further Action to Strengthen Canada’s Housing Market,”
[Press Release], June 21, 2012. Retrieved from www.ﬁn.gc.ca/news-nouvelles/nr-nc-eng.asp
4 Mortgage Brokers Association of BC, September 14, 2012.
5 Canadian Real Estate Association, Economic Impacts of MLS® Homes Sales and Purchases in Canada and the Provinces, 2006 – 2008, p. 7.
6 United States Department of Agriculture, “A Child Born in 2011 will cost…”[Press Release No. 0197.12], June 14, 2012. Costs are expected to be similar or higher in Canada. Retrieved from www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?contentid=2012/06/0197.xml&contentidonly=true
Who we are
The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver represents more than 11,000 REALTORS® in Greater Vancouver and supports policies and programs that encourage affordable home ownership.
Source Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver
Among all mortgage holders, 65% have fixed rate mortgages, 28% have variable rate mortgages and 7% have a combination.
For mortgages in 2012, there has been a significant shift to fixed rate mortgages – 79% are fixed, 10% are variable and 11% are a combination of both.
68% of mortgages obtained during 2012 have amortization periods of 25 years or less.
32% of mortgage holders are making significant efforts to accelerate repayments, including taking one or more of the following actions in the past year:
• 16% have voluntarily increased their monthly payments.
• 15% have made a lump sum contribution to their mortgage.
• 6% have increased their payment frequency.
Among borrowers who took out a new mortgage in 2012, a record 47% obtained it from a mortgage broker.
The average mortgage interest rate is 3.55%, which is lower than last year’s average of 3.92%.
There has been a considerable amount of locking-in (converting from variable rate to fixed rate). Among the 3.85 million Canadian homeowners with fixed rate mortgages, 13% locked in during the past 12 months.
Among mortgage borrowers who have renewed a mortgage this year, 61% experienced a reduction in their interest rate.
The average actual rate for 5-year fixed rate mortgages is 1.85 percentage points lower than typical (posted) rates in 2012.
Of the 9.7 million homeowners in Canada, 5.95 million have mortgages and 3.75 million are mortgage-free.
The arrears rate has fallen for 19 consecutive months and is approaching a record low of 0.25%. Compare this to mortgage arrears in the United States which is consistently over 20% (100 times higher than Canada) over the past 4 years. Cannot compare the 2 banking systems…
87% of Canadian homeowners have 25% or more home equity.
According to simulations, 17% of high ratio mortgages funded in 2010 could not have been funded today, including 11% of prospective high ratio homebuyers who can’t qualify for a mortgage under the new 25 year amortization rule
Since the most recent round of mortgage tightening came into effect there has been a drop in Canadian housing resale activity: between August and October, sales were 8% lower than in the year prior to the announcement.
Source: Taylor Made Mortgages
As the market soared during most of the 2000s, condo pre-sales were a popular and profitable way to buy a new home today, while there may not be long lines of buyers outside sales centres, pre-sales continue to be a popular choice for both investors and home buyers.
Regardless of the purpose of a pre-sale purchase, there is an inherently speculative aspect to it. This is because a pre-sales contract locks in the price. After the buyer signs the contract, the market may go up or down, mortgage rules and interest rates may change, and in extreme cases, a buyer may no longer qualify for a mortgage.
Before the market decline began in 2008, buyers paid little attention to the Real Estate Development Marketing Act (REDMA). Then, when the decline occurred, many buyers found themselves stuck with contracts to buy properties above market value. The result was litigation.
There have been a number of cases testing the consumer protections enshrined in REDMA. For the most part, the results have been very good for purchasers. Breaches of REDMA – some seemingly unimportant – have resulted in purchasers being able to rescind their contracts and get their deposits back.
In 299 Burrard Residential Limited Partnership v. Essalat, the Court of Appeal found that a roughly four month delay in construction required the developer to file and deliver an amended disclosure statement. The developer did not do so and the purchaser was entitled to rescind the purchase agreement. Notably, the purchaser knew of the delay, but it was not formally set out in an amendment to the disclosure statement.
In Woo v. ONNI Ioco Road Limited Partnership, purchasers were not provided with one of the amendments to the disclosure statement. They completed their purchases and lived in the properties for seven months before learning of the missing amendment. They waited a further 10 months before issuing notices of rescission. The court recently held that the purchasers were entitled to rescission. By the time of the court’s ruling, the purchasers had owned the properties for over three years. They were entitled to return the properties for the full purchase price.
While REDMA provides robust protection for consumers, it also cuts both ways. While breaches by a developer will lead to a seemingly harsh result, if the developer complies with REDMA, it has a free hand to do almost whatever it wants without the risk of purchasers lawfully rescinding.
A developer may change anything that affects the price, value or use of the property. The only caveat is that the developer must immediately file and deliver an amendment to the disclosure statement clearly identifying those changes. Critically, so long as this is done, the purchasers have no right of rescission. They must still complete the purchase, regardless of what they think about the changes set out in the amendment.
REDMA is clear that receiving a disclosure statement does not provide a right of rescission.
Pre-sales purchasers should understand that the developer can change the price, value or use of the property and purchasers may not have a right to back out of the contract as a result. This is the quid pro quo of REDMA. While it provides purchasers robust consumer protection, it also provides developers the right to change important aspects of the development while keeping purchasers tied to their contracts.
Source: REGBV Article by Wesley McMillan, Harper Grey LLP
The Greater Vancouver housing market saw a slight increase in the number of home sales, a slight reduction in the number of listings, and a slight decrease in home prices in October compared to the summer months. With those changes, the sales-to-active-listings ratio increased to 11 per cent in October from 8 per cent in September.
The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reported 1,931 residential property sales of detached, attached and apartment properties on the region’s Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in October, a 16.7 per cent decline compared to the 2,317 sales in October 2011 and a 27.4 per cent increase compared to the 1,516 home sales in September 2012.
October sales were 28.5 per cent below the 10-year October sales average of 2,700.
Buyer demand increased slightly in October compared to the previous few months. Overall conditions in today’s market remain in favour of buyers, with low interest rates, more choice, and less time pressure in terms of decision-making. This translates into a calmer atmosphere for those looking to buy a home and it places more onus on sellers to ensure their homes are priced to compete in today’s marketplace.
New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties in Greater Vancouver totalled 4,323 in October. This represents a 1.2 per cent decline compared to October 2011 when 4,374 properties were listed for sale on the MLS® and an 18.8 per cent decline compared to the 5,321 new listings in September 2012.
At 17,370, the total number of residential property listings on the MLS® increased 12 per cent from this time last year and declined 5.3 per cent compared to September 2012.
Since reaching a peak of $625,100 in May, the MLS Home Price Index® (MLS HPI®) composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Greater Vancouver declined 3.4 per cent to $603,800 in October. This represents a 0.8 per cent decline compared to last year.
There’ve been modest price changes since they peaked in the spring. The largest reductions have occurred in the areas and property types that experienced the biggest price increases over the last few years.
Since hitting a record high in April, the benchmark price of a detached home on the Westside of Vancouver has declined 8.6 per cent while detached homes in Richmond and West Vancouver have seen declines of 6 per cent over the same time period.
Sales of detached properties on the MLS® in October 2012 reached 79, a decrease of 25.47 per cent from the 106 detached sales recorded in October 2011, and a 40.60 per cent decrease from the 133 units sold in October 2010.
Attached property sales in October 2012 totalled 61, an 3.17 per cent increase compared to the 63 sales in October 2011, and a 28.24 per cent decrease from the 85 attached properties sold in October 2010.
Sales of apartment properties reached 85 in October 2012, a 10.53 per cent decrease compared to the 94 sales in October 2011, and a decrease of 36.09 per cent compared to the 133 sales in October 2010.
Source Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver
Richmond was incorporated on November 10, 1879 and designated as a city on December 3, 1990. Historical industries include fishing, salmon canning, boat building, agriculture – dairy and berry production, aviation, export, and service. The founding cultures are First Nations, British European, Japanese, and Chinese.
The model of government in Richmond consists the Mayor and eight Councillors elected at large. The major awards won by city are Nations in Bloom 1999; Communities in Bloom, Canada – 1998; National; and Environment Award for Terra Nova Rural Park, 2008. Richmond’s twinning cities are Wakayama, Japan and Pierrefont, Quebec, Canada.
Richmond’s land area is 129 sq. kilometers (49.8 sq. miles) with latitude of N 49º 10’ and longitude of W 123º 8’. There are 17 islands making up the City of Richmond. Richmond is located on the west coast of Canada between two arms of the Fraser River. The area enjoys 1,500 acres (607.5 ha) designated natural areas and parks. A transportation hub which includes The Vancouver International Airport, the sea ports located in the city are the Vancouver Fraser Port and Steveston Fishing Port.
Richmond average temperature in January is 2.5ºC and average temperature in July is 17.3ºC.
The average annual rainfall is 1,112.6 mm.
Richmond population was 199,141 in 2011 (BC Stats estimate) with a projected population of 225,000 in 2021 (Metro Vancouver estimate). The average annual population growth rate from 2006-2011 is 1.7%.
City population as a percentage of Metro Vancouver region is 8.3%.
Immigrants as a percentage of population were 57.4% as of May 2006. Between May 2001 and May 2006, the number of immigrants who came to Richmond is 18,780 (est.). The three leading countries of birth for recent immigrants are China (People’s Republic of), Philippines and Hong Kong.
The percentage of population with University Degree is 26.0%.
Jobs and Industry
There is an estimate of 125,000 jobs in Richmond. The city jobs as percentage of provincial jobs is 7.4%. The total labour force from age 15+ is 92,470, where the percentage of this population group in labour market is 63.1%. There were 12,684 business licences issued in 2009. Major industries in Richmond consist of high tech, retail, aviation, transportation, tourism, service, manufacturing, and agriculture. Cranberries, blueberries, hay, and field vegetables are the major agricultural products in the city. According to the 2006 Census, average family income in 2005 was $74,790 and median family income in 2005 is $67,627. Business Associations include Richmond Chamber of Commerce, and Richmond Asia Pacific Business Association (RAPBA).
Recreation and Culture
Libraries, gateway theatre, arts centre, heritage sites, Richmond Art Gallery -
contemporary art gallery, museum, public art are the cultural amenities in the city. Some of the recreation facilities include 100 parks with 1,500 acres of area/open space, including the 320 acre Iona Island Park.
The area enjoys an 80 km system of interconnecting dyke trails, cycling routes and walkways; eight community centres; a seniors centre; cultural centre; fitness centre; two (2) arenas; eight ice rinks; two indoor aquatic centres; two outdoor pools. There are over 200 volunteer community organizations; 50 advisory committees and task forces; partnerships with business and community groups for community involvement. The major cultural events are tall ships 2002, annual Maritime Festival, Winter Fest, Music Fest, multicultural festivals, and choral concerts.
Richmond’s major tourist attractions are Steveston historic fishing village; Britannia Heritage Shipyard National Historic Site; Gulf of Georgia Cannery National Historic Site; Richmond Olympic Oval; International Buddhist Society Temple; Richmond Nature Park; London Heritage Farm, Asian shopping malls; and world renowned restaurants. The number of airport passengers annually is 17.9 million (2008). Richmond represents ⅓ of Vancouver’s bed base with 26 hotels and 4,700 hotel rooms.
Source: City of Richmond
The Bank of Canada once again opted to hold its target for the overnight rate at 1 per cent this morning. Interest rates have been held constant for over two years, the longest such period since the 1950s. The Bank somewhat tempered its bias for higher future interest rates, including a softer statement regarding the appropriateness of a gradual withdrawal of monetary stimulus as excess supply in the economy is absorbed. In a bit of a surprise, the Bank actually raised its forecast for the growth in the Canadian economy this year to 2.2 per cent, but kept its 2013 forecast at 2.3 per cent growth. The Bank judges that at that pace of growth, the Canadian economy will return to full capacity by the end of 2013.
It is our view that monetary policy at the Bank of Canada will continue to be constrained by external events in the global economy and household debt growth at home. While the Bank’s preference for tighter policy is clear, it is difficult to make a case for higher interest rates when core inflation is below the Bank’s 2 per cent target and already slow economic growth is threatened by global uncertainty. Therefore, we are forecasting that the Bank of Canada will hold its target overnight rate at 1 per cent until mid-to-late 2013 when, conditioned on an improved global economic outlook, it may test the water with a 25 basis point rate increase.
Source British Columbia Real Restate Association.
If your you buy a new or substantially renovated secondary or recreational home in BC, but outside of Greater Vancouver or Victoria, before April 1, 2013, they may qualify for a provincial grant for the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST).
The grant for new secondary or recreational housing is directly administered by the BC Ministry of Finance.
This grant should not be confused with the BC New Housing Rebate available for new residential homes bought as a primary residence, and administered by Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).
The grant for new secondary or recreation housing is 71.43% of the provincial portion of the HST paid on the new home up to a maximum rebate of $42,500. Secondary or recreational homes priced at $850,000 or more are eligible for a flat grant of $42,500.
To be eligible, the secondary or recreational home must be:
- a new home (detached, semi-detached, duplex, condominium, townhouse) constructed or substantially renovated (more than 90%) together with land bought from a builder;
- a new home together with leased land;
- a new mobile home or float home;
- a new home bought through shares in a housing cooperative; or
- a new home constructed or substantially renovated (more than 90%) by the owner builder.
To be eligible, buyers must meet all of the following conditions:
- the HST was paid on or after April 1, 2012 and before April 1, 2013 on the purchase of a new or substantially renovated house, or to build or substantially renovate a house;
- the buyer or a family member will use the house as a secondary or recreational residence;
- the home is located outside the Capital Regional District and the Greater Vancouver Regional District;
- the buyer (or any other co-owners) or family are the first occupants of the home, or in the case of a substantial renovation, are the first occupants after the renovation; and
- the home will not be used for commercial purposes (vacation rentals, bed & breakfast, small business) by an owner who is an HST registrant claiming input tax credits for some or all of the HST paid on the home.
In addition to the general qualifications above, buyers must meet other conditions depending on the type of home and whether the client buys or builds the house alone or with others. For example, if two or more individuals buy a new secondary or recreational home, or build or substantially renovate a home, each buyer must meet all eligibility conditions, but only one may apply for the grant as the claimant.
You do not have to be a BC resident to be eligible for the grant.
Buyers of secondary or recreational homes must complete an application form and provide supporting documents within six months from the date the HST was paid and before October 1, 2013 (whichever date is earliest).
To learn more, contact: 1.877.388.4440 or visit www.fin.gov.bc.ca/rev.htm and in the search box type in HST Notice #13. For application forms, in the search box type in “grant new secondary residence.”
Source: Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver, Ministry of Finance
Resolving strata disputes will soon become faster, more accessible and more affordable thanks to recent provincial legislation.
Bill 44: The Civil Resolution Tribunal Act, which passed earlier this year, creates an independent body, the Civil Resolution Tribunal, which will provide dispute resolution tools as an alternative to going to court. The tribunal is expected to be operational by 2014.
This is welcome news for the Board, which together with BC Real Estate Association (BCREA) had, for many years, voiced concerns about strata property legislation.
In 2008, BCREA invited member Boards and REALTORSÒ to provide feedback. A key concern from REGBV members was the strata dispute resolution process, which members believed could benefit from a legislated mediation component.
BCREA advocated for this change and in 2011 reiterated the industry’s position during the province’s 2011 consultation process on strata dispute resolution.
Who can access tribunal services?
Strata corporations, strata owners and tenants will be able to access tribunal services
- If two individuals are in a dispute, both must need to agree to participate in the tribunal.
- If a strata owner or a tenant decides to use tribunal services, the affected strata corporation must participate.
The tribunal will have the authority to handle strata disputes between strata property owners and strata corporations, including:
- Non-payment of monthly strata fees or fines;
- Unfair actions by the strata corporation or by those owning more than half of the strata lots in a complex;
- Uneven, arbitrary or non-enforcement of strata bylaws (such as smoking, noise, pets, parking, rentals);
- Issues of financial responsibility for repairs and the choice of bids for services;
- Irregularities in the conduct of meetings, voting, minutes or other matters;
- Interpretation of the legislation, regulations or bylaws; and
- Issues regarding common property.
The tribunal will not decide matters that affect land, including:
- Ordering the sale of a strata lot;
- Court orders respecting rebuilding damaged real property;
- Dealing with developers and phased strata plans; or
- Determining each owner’s per cent share in the strata complex (the “Schedule of Unit Entitlement”).
These matters will continue to be heard in the BC Supreme Court, as will other matters, including:
- The appointment of an administrator to run the strata corporation;
- Orders vesting authority in a liquidator’
- Applications to wind up a strata corporation;
- Allegations of conflicts of interest by council members; or
- Appointment of voters when there is no person to vote in respect of a strata lot.
How will tribunal services be accessed?
The tribunal services will be available online 24/7. Assistance will also be offered by phone, mail or even in person. Disputes are expected to be resolved within 60 days, compared to 12 to 18 months for the court process.
The tribunal will have five stages
Stage 1 – Self-Help: Information and tools will be available online 24/7 to help parties resolve disputes.
Stage 2 – Online Party-to-Party Negotiations: If Stage 1 fails; parties can go through a guided negotiation monitored by tribunal staff.
Stage 3 – Facilitated Settlement: Where an agreement is still not reached, parties can pay applicable fees and request active facilitation by the tribunal involving mediation or other dispute resolution processes. All parties must consent.
Stage 4 – Case management Preparation: A case manager will facilitate mediation and explore options for settlement.
Stage 5 – Adjudication: Any dispute not settled by agreement will be heard by an adjudicator with the authority to decide outcome and make binding decisions.
Fees for tribunal resolution of a dispute have not been finalized.
Learn More Information on strata property and the tribunal available at: www.housing.gov.bc/strata